United close to securing Airbus A321neos from lessors in wake of MAX 10 delays

United Airlines A321neo
United Airlines

United Airlines is close to securing multiple Airbus A321neos through aircraft lease agreements, Bloomberg News reports. 

According to the publication, United Airlines is in the market for 36 or more Airbus A321neo aircraft as it responds to delays of the Boeing 737 MAX 10.  

Speaking with sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg was told that the jets are due to be delivered between 2025 and 2027. 

At a JPMorgan investor conference on March 12, 2024, United CEO Scott Kirby appeared to confirm rumors that the airline was looking to the Airbus A321 as a possible alternative to some of the MAX 10s it has on order.    

“We are in the market for A321s, and if we get a deal where the economics work, we’ll do something. If we don’t, we won’t and will wind up with more Max 9s,” Kirby said.   

Kirby also said that he had told Boeing to “stop building Max 10s, which they’ve done for us, and start building Max 9s”. 

Once the MAX 10 receives certification, United will switch back to the larger family aircraft variant.   

The move to acquire A321neos comes as type certification of the MAX 10 looks increasingly unlikely to happen within the next couple of years, with Boeing’s production ambitions hampered by the Alaska Airlines door plug blowout and resulting investigations. 

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